Person centred care… AKA being nice to each other! by Wendy Copeland

When I joined the NHS two years ago I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights… I never even really knew what Primary care was!!! (Please don’t judge me).

However I was given a book to read called Talking Points… Good Conversations. For someone who had spent 30 years in various service industries ‘I got it’…I knew something!! Person Centred Care was all about providing needs lead Customer service… and I have designed and delivered more customer service course than I have had cooked breakfasts.

This revelation took me back to a horrific period in my daughter’s life.

On the 7 August 2006… After a weekend of ignoring her moaning about a sore swollen leg and her increasing breathlessness, I finally called NHS 24 when I got home from work on a Monday night.

I was calm and thought she had overdone her two week holiday in Magaluf where she virtually lived at BCM to celebrate her finishing school.

I was bit alarmed when I was instructed to get her to A&E asap, and they would have a team waiting for her. After an incredibly stressful night Lindsey was diagnosed with a DVT and a PE, her heart was under immense pressure and all that we could do was keep her stable, pump her with blood thinners and wait….and wait we did, I think we went through 6 stages of being told the next 24 hours are critical… The clot in her lung could move at any time…

Lindsey had amazing care from all staff, Nurses, HCSWs, AHPs, ( I had no idea obviously at time, all about these different titles) Everyone was great and appreciated that Lindz was in a ward with ‘old folk’ and got her a single room, no visiting restrictions; in fact we took over… (no surprise there!).

The person that did stick in my mind was Dr John Simpson, John was a Hibee and Lindz a Jambo… he totally connected with her…. and in the days before Person Centred Care… as we were planning Lindsey’s discharge… he asked ‘what’s important to you Lindsey? All she wanted, was to go and start her new college course in 2 weeks to study Beauty Therapy…. he helped us make this happen, negotiating more physio, GPs’ to check Lindsey’s INR at a suitable time….. for a Hibee he was a top bloke!

Lindz is great now, off warfrain, her heart has fully recovered and she just needs to be sensible… no sitting around for too long, drink lots of water, injecting before flights, in fact things that we should all do!! Although I have given up nagging her to wear her compression stockings.

4 Years ago she decided on a career change and is now Staff Nurse Agnew in the Acute Medical Receiving unit at ERI, where she spent her first 24 hours, nearly 10 years ago.

Here’s a lovely Facebook message she received from one of her nursing peers before starting on.

‘Welcome to the world of nursing where give out medication becomes second nature, and putting a smile on a patients face makes your day. Wishing you lots of luck in your new post Staff Nurse Agnew xx’

I know she will make a cracking nurse and her skills and experience as a beauty therapist will means she will always be able to have great hairdresser chats with patients. I am an immensely proud mummy.

Back to Dr Simpson and person centred care. Earlier this year I heard about the premature death of a young man caused by a PE… it really threw me and I spent a lot of time reflecting.

I ‘googled’ John as I was curious to what he was now doing… Dean of Research and Innovation (Clinical) & Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Newcastle University.

And of course I emailed him….

Hello John

This is totally random. You treated my daughter Lindsey with a DVT and PE over nine years ago at ERI.

I am now working in NHS and today I am designing a session on Person Centred Care … and I’m using you as an example of how you treated Lindsey as a person and not just her condition… I’ll not name you so hope you are OK with this!

I also wanted to share that Lindsey has recently qualified as an adult nurse and is now working in ERI, acute assessment unit, and of course is still a Hearts supporter.

Best regards


His reply brought me to tears…

Ha ha ha – what a lovely email that has lit up an uncharacteristically TERRIBLE day (we had an MHRA inspection!).

You won’t believe this, but I still have my coffee at home from the Hibs mug that Lindsey gave me after that episode, and so I think of her often, and had wondered where she ended up. I hope she is very well. Do tell her I was asking for her, and it is so funny that she ended up on the Unit. Ironically, I now run one of the few dedicated PE clinics in England. 

I’m very happy for you to mention whatever you like in your session, and I hope it goes well. Do tell Lindsey that although I watch Newcastle too, I still go up to see the Hibs when I can, and have my ticket for the cup final… little superstition is that I never drink from the mug she gave me on days when Hibs are playing!!

Anyway, what a lovely e-mail, it really cheered me up. I hope this finds you well too. Very best wishes


Person Centred Care at its best, go on make someone’s day… every day!

Wendy Copeland is a Workforce Development Partner for NHS Dumfries and Galloway


13 thoughts on “Person centred care… AKA being nice to each other! by Wendy Copeland

  1. Bought a tear to my eye as well Wendy….great blog….and yes….be nice to each other…..and make someone’s day special…..

  2. What a lovely thing to read at the start of my working day, gives us all something to think about. Thank you Wendy.

  3. Wendy, a “moving” blog, and proves it is the little things that matter, and a smile means so much!

  4. Wendy, I loved this blog, it is really pretty emotional and shows how much impact paying attention to what matters to an individual really does have. thank you for sharing

  5. Thanks for sharing so real and heart felt. It’s fantastic that your daughter is well and out of her experience she is now a nurse.

  6. I recently listened to Tommy Whitelaw speak about 157 letters speeding to and from relatives and a hospital about poor care given to a mother with dementia. What changed this situation? One Consultant like your Dr Simpson. In busy working lives it’s great to be reminded of the impact (forever) of patient centred care. Thank you for sharing this.

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